The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Spaces4Learning.

Ohio's 200th LEED Certified Public School Completed by SHP

Columbus – Pickerington Local School District’s Violet Elementary, a school renovated by SHP Leading Design, has been named the 200th LEED Certified Public K-12 school in Ohio.

The school received LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  Violet Elementary was built in 1978, and received substantial updates that helped it attain LEED certification.

Those updates included:

  • installing a white PVC roof to reject heat in the summer,
  • installing low-flow plumbing fixtures,
  • diverting construction waste from landfills through recycling and salvage,
  • using regionally available materials to limit delivery pollution,
  • using materials with high recycled content,
  • improving indoor air quality through use of low emitting materials,
  • putting in new energy efficient windows
  • and adding better control of HVAC and lighting systems to reduce energy costs.

SHP Leading Design, the architecture firm that renovated Violet, now holds the honor of designing the first LEED Certified public school in Ohio (Pleasant Ridge Montessori in October 2009), the first LEED Platinum school in Ohio (London Middle School in 2012) and the 200th school. SHP has certified 33 schools to date, with another 32 in process.

For DuWayne Baird, SHP’s LEED Administrator for Violet Elementary, working on this project had a very personal significance.  Baird attended Violet as a child, and has now worked to improve the future of many students in the district—including his oldest daughter, who will attend Violet this fall.

“Achieving LEED Silver on a renovation is particularly challenging because we're working to maintain the balance between ‘new’ and ‘existing,’” Baird said. “In LEED terms, it's much easier to start design with a blank canvas, where all sorts of options are available for each building system. In a renovation project, we're working to facilitate the owner's vision and the project's budget with a very real, physical set of constraints.”

Baird also said optimizing energy performance is the most heavily weighted aspect of the LEED for Schools rating system, reflecting nearly a fifth of all possible points. 

“Substantially reducing a facility's energy usage is a comprehensive effort that involves elements like the building envelope, lighting systems, HVAC, etc.  HVAC and lighting replacements are fairly typical scope for many renovation projects, but substantially altering a building envelope is much more costly and not necessarily the best allocation of funds when considering the multiple competing priorities encountered when balancing a project's budget.”

Pickerington Superintendent Valerie Browning-Thompson said LEED Certification results in numerous benefits for the district.

“Saving energy reduces our utility costs, which saves the district money,” Browning-Thompson said. “It also reinforces the district’s commitment to environmental awareness. A school district’s priority is the future, helping children grow to become responsible citizens. Exhibiting environmental awareness through our actions aligns with the lessons we try to teach in our classrooms.”

About SHP Leading Design
As a national educational design expert, SHP Leading Design offers a complete line of planning, architecture, interior design, engineering, construction administration and facilities management services. With more than 114 years of experience, the firm is committed to leading the community in innovative and sustainable architectural design. SHP has offices in Cincinnati and Columbus. Learn more at

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